Archive for October 2022

Before Dawn

October 21, 2022

Before Dawn

how did it get so cold—the darkness feels
absolute, but it’s only dark enough
to let the stars and moon both shine.

It’s not a matter of darkness anyway
but clarity, the sky clear enough for pinpoints, clear enough
for the blue arc of the moon
to be seen in its small bright bowl.

Clear enough that I can make out the imagined paths between stars,
the sketch of constellations whose names I’ve never been able to learn—
but not so clear that I can see the stone steps right
at my feet.

I bend to hold a concrete slab at their sides,
then crouch down the stairs, a sideways crab, determined
to get a broader view, and so glad, now
as I write this, that I don’t always care how I look
in this so beautiful world,
that I don’t somehow mind
the awkwardness of age, the steps one takes
to hold on, the steps one
is given, all those strange


Happy Friday!  The above drawing does not really go so well with this poem, but I like it!  It was done in a wonderful drawing class, Inventory Drawing, with Peter Hristoff of School of Visual Arts.  Sadly, the class is concluded now, but I urge you to check out SVA offerings in Continuing Ed (and other Ed) in future semesters as Peter will likely offer the class again. 

As always, all rights reserved.


October 20, 2022


When I tell you you’re a sweetie pie,
you say that I’m the sweetest pie,
and I can’t help but think
of a Shoo Fly,
made with brown sugar and vinegar,
me who is so darting
yet somehow insubstantial, sweet,
sad, sour—

But for you, I think of a Moon,
because of the spoon
of your backside, also just because
I like the name. 

But a Moon Pie’s made with marshmallow,
and there’s not much of the marshmallow in you—
a soft heart,
but what really comes to mind
is a tree branch,
because of the way the muscles line
your shoulders, sides, the lean strength
that bends,
the way a branch is surprisingly green
beneath the bark. 

But what kind of pie is made with branches?
The closest is a nest—

I think then of how you hold me
at your chest,
me, who is so
mercurial, and how you would never even think
of Shoo Fly—
no, you’d never call that
my pie. 


No offense meant to Shoofly Pie, or those who like it! Have a great day.  (All rights reserved, as always.)

Butterfly Effect (Politics)

October 19, 2022

I am worried about the upcoming election.  Women’s rights are on the line.  Frankly, in many states, women have already lost the line. 

But it could get worse (and will if the GOP takes over congress.) 

Voting rights are on the line.  Frankly, in many states, voters have already lost the ability to vote easily and to have their votes counted.

But it could get worse (and will if the GOP takes over congress.) 

Yes, we are already despoiling the planet.

But it could get worse (and will if the GOP takes over congress.)

Yes, Putin has already acted on delusions of grandeur, and his soldiers have raped, tortured, and are currently bombing civilians.  But his actions, and those of other dictators, could get much much worse.  

And the GOP noticeably does not care about crimes against humanity, not if it raises the price of gas.  Sadly, it seems as if many GOP politicians do not care much about crimes against humanity even they didn’t raise gas prices.  (They seem to have  a not-very-secret affection for dictators.)

What I have been doing—which has become almost mystical for me—is making small donations nearly every day (sometimes randomly repeated through the weeks) to Democratic candidates around the country. Each is a very small donation.  Yet, I try always to carry through the thought, to bother.

If I think of someone in a pivotal race—Val Demmings against Marco Rubio; John Fetterman against Dr. Oz; Tim Ryan against J.D. Vance; Mark Kelly against Blake Masters—Beto O’Rourke, Stacy Abrams, Catharine Cortez Masto, Mandela Barnes, Evan McMullin—-the Democratic candidates here are all interesting and worthwhile–I try to make that little donation. I feel like even my small donations will generate a random positivity in their direction, while if I have the thought, but don’t follow through, I might contribute to the negative. (It might somehow contribute to the idea of other people not bothering–not even bothering to vote.)  

I guess I am trying to work the “butterfly effect.”  It’s the idea in chaos theory that one small change, one small action (the movement of the wings of a butterfly), can generate a big result.  

My thought—that even my small efforts (the little donations, the carefully worded, if hopeless, emails to family members in red states)–could populate a tide.

Anyway—I put it out there.  To think about politics right now is sickening, disheartening, but important. Do what you can.  

ps–Raphael Warnock is another to support!

Drawing above is mine–was supposed to start as a moth, but I drew a butterfly of sorts–again in Peter Hristoff’s wonderful “Inventory Drawing” class at SVA.

Magic Hair

October 18, 2022

Magic hair! (Sadly, my cut is a pixie!)

Have a great day!


October 17, 2022

Another work week.  These are definitely connected to a sense of dread and isolation these days!  (Especially if, like me, you are working remotely. Remote work is a wonder, but when you are stuck in the dread of Monday, you realize that even a commute, much less the camaraderie or a workplace, can sometimes jog your cog-self into a more convivial slot.)

The shortening, cooling, daylight adds to the sense that time is way too short, yet also hanging heavy. It’s an odd combination of time pressure and time endlessness. Worry over the current election cycle, Russian brutality in the Ukraine, and so much else in the world doesn’t help, of course–nor endless Trump.)

What does help: for me, anyway–thinking of the delight that children bring to many many moments, both for themselves and others. Getting outside. Music. Art of all kinds–both enjoying and making.

The pic is one of the drawings done very very quickly in Inventory Drawing, taught by Peter Hristoff at SVA.  It was not actually done for this subject matter, but fits the bill in some ways.

In the midst of all these sands of time—have a good week!  

this Saturday morning

October 15, 2022

this Saturday morning

I woke in the canyon of my mother and
her bedroom wall.  I would sleep there
as a child, from the middle of the night, when I would wake and call
my father, who would shepherd me across the hall
to their dim room, and into
my mother’s slim twin bed. 

The twin beds were a gift
from my grandmother (my dad’s mother). My mother sometimes
laughed about that, though, a child, I did not get the joke.
I saw my parents as a couple, yoked,
but not physical, and was shocked one Saturday morning early
charging their
closed door.

She slept with her back to me; she slumbered
rather than slept, while I, who always slithered to the
inside, danced my feet along the wall.

It was an exterior wall, with a big
picture window and two smaller, a mix
of cold and warmth, what with her pajamaed back, the baseboard heat,
the chill of plaster.

So safe, and yet also
an adventure.  I seemed to feel the bricks
on the other side.  I lost myself too
in the snowy roads of the Grandma Moses drapes, sleighs pulled
over the rough damask by belled horses to a honeycomb
of the same yellow-windowed house, repeated through
the fabric, red-bricked but so different
from our own. 

Maybe part of the adventure was whether my feet would leave marks,
my mother a maniac about smudges—she didn’t ever punish anyone, but to be in the same house with her when she was scrubbing was its own
kind of torture.

Oh, but I missed my mother
this morning.
 I missed her more than I would ever have believed,
 I, who knew how I loved her, missed her even more than that.

I missed her for who she was and also
just because
she was  my mother. 

I missed being a child, me who will always be
a child.

I missed being a child
with a mother beside her. 


Kind of a draft poem. The pic, not drawn for the poem, is one from Peter Hristoff’s Inventory Drawing (at SVA.) Thank you all and have a great weekend!


October 14, 2022
Weekend Beckons

Thanks for Friday! Have a good one!

Help Is In the Air

October 13, 2022

Hello!  I hope all are well.  

I am okay but have been loaded up with tasks of late, both job and personal, and a fair amount of worry and concern, and haven’t been able to post.  I’ve missed it.

Sometimes one’s mind is too jumbled to send any clear messages.  (Maybe the only word the brain conveys is “agh!”)  

Lately, enmeshed in this jumble, I’ve channeled my determined creative energies into putting together a children’s book. (More on this when it’s ready.)  One great thing about doing a children’s book (for me) is that I don’t worry too much about messages—of course, I can’t help but include something a little bit preachy, but I have to focus mainly on making the book entertaining enough to lure a child through it.  And getting the illustrations to work takes me a huge amount of time.  So, in the last couple of months, when I have had breaks, I’ve focused mainly on a new little children’s book.

But a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to start taking a drawing class, Inventory Drawing, with Peter Hristoff of SVA.  Peter, a wonderful artist himself, is also a gifted teacher.  Inventory Drawing is a class in which one is forced to draw not only on paper, but from inner resources.  But Peter keeps the pace (and inspiration) moving fast enough that one can’t get too caught up in inner tangles. 

What I like about the quick drawing (which often involves a layering of themes) is that you have to let meaning arise as it will—you don’t have enough time to be too purposeful (or too much in a rut).  Of course, because we are human, some kind of meaning tends to come to our minds whenever we look at something we or another human has made.  

In the case of these fast drawings though, the meaning is not always so easy to encapsulate.  It can go in a lot of different directions, which allows for a kind of breadth.  And breath. 

Anyway, here’s one from a class a couple of weeks ago.  I hope to put some up regularly.  

Thanks for checking in!